Everyone loves a great manicure - but with so much buzz lately about the toxic ingredients found in most conventional nail polishes, there's a lot of confusion over whether or not there are truly any "clean" options for nail color out there, not to mention all the removers, primers, top coats, and nail strengtheners that go along with them.
If you've been wondering how to navigate the tricky world of nail care on your clean beauty journey, you're not alone. And it doesn't have to be complicated! We're breaking down our top 4 guidelines for fabulous, clean, nontoxic nail care, starting with rule #1:
1) Avoid dirty polish. The only way to make sure you have a truly clean polish is to - you guessed it! - check those ingredients. Several companies have adopted the terms "5-free" and even "10-free" to help differentiate their formulas from the dirtiest offenders, which include: formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, camphor, formaldehyde resin, xylene, parabens, fragrances, phthalates, and animal ingredients. This is a step in the right direction, but still, some concerning toxins remain in the majority of conventional nail polish formulations - most notably hormone disruptor benzophenone-1.
Thankfully, we've done our homework and discovered that there are a few shining starts out there producing nail polish that is free of any hormone-disrupting ingredients. Our most recent addition to the Be Pure Beauty family, Sophi Nail Polish (from the makers of Piggy Paint) ranks a clean, green 3 on the Think Dirty rating scale and contains no harsh chemicals! Cue the happy dance!
2) Skip the nail salon. Never have there been more varied options for color, coverage and design for the at-home DIY manicurist! Which is great news, because research increasingly shows that spending time in conventional nail salons is less than great for your health. The profusion of toxic fumes you'd be inhaling for an hour or more, coupled with the concoction of various lotions, scrubs, and creams many nail artists are accustomed to using as part of the mani/pedi routine (which often contain dirty ingredients like parabens and phthalates) is enough to kill that feel-good vibe you'd get from a rocking a new color on your toes. Instead, grab your favorite nontoxic polish shade and get creative at home. Or even better, have a girls' night in and trade mani/pedis with a friend!
If you feel that you must go to the nail salon every now and then (we get it, it can be a hard habit to break!), at least bring along your own nontoxic polish and associated lotions/creams for your nail artist to use. You never know, you could be part of a movement toward cleaner products and working conditions for these artists, who are exposed to way too many harsh chemicals each day in the workplace, often to the detriment of their health.
3) Use an acetone-free polish remover. Most conventional nail polish removers contain acetone, which is what gives them the strong, stringent smell you get a whiff of whenever you open the bottle. Not only can acetone dry out and damage already-brittle nails, it's also suspected to be a neurotoxin, meaning repeated exposure over a long period of time could result in nerve damage. Yikes!
Sophi's Nail Polish Stripper contains only 3 simple ingredients, and thankfully, acetone did not make the list. It's a gel as opposed to a traditional thin liquid remover, so we recommend using the Sophi Polish Remover Sticks with it for best results.
4) Avoid biting your nails at all costs. We all know this is a less than desirable habit, but even the best of us can be guilty of a little nail-biting when we get nervous. However, this isn't a great idea even if your nails are clean or you're wearing a nontoxic polish - and it's a WAY worse idea if you're wearing a toxic polish (go back and read rule #1!) You don't want to do anything to introduce the toxins present in a nail polish formula into your bloodstream. It's already been shown that polish you wear on your nails does absorb into the body, but biting your nails will make the concentration even stronger.
And for those with clean nails, nail biting is still one of the main ways germs are introduced into your system, resulting in lowered immunity and higher risk for catching colds and other unpleasant communicable illnesses. Your best best is to keep those gorgeous nails out of your mouth at all times.
The rules of nontoxic nail care are short and simple - much how we like to keep our ingredient lists and our nontoxic manis here at the shop. Steer clear of toxic ingredients in your polish and removers, get comfortable with DIY nail fun, and remember, don't bite those beautiful nails!
What are your best tips for an at-home mani or pedi? We'd love to hear your favorite tricks for beautiful nails!